dive shop disappointments
Our arrival at the dive shop was less than auspicious, no one said hello or asked if we needed help. Although to be fair that seems pretty common in dive shops with everyone far too interested in what they are doing than helping a customer and if we haven’t booked ahead those are definitely the ones we walk straight back out of again. Hellooooo customers here, wanting to give you money!
When we introduced ourselves there was no intro to the dive shop or its facilities.
On neither of our days diving so far has there been any kind of introduction to the crew or other divers – personally I find introductions break the ice and make it far more likely that anyone with any anxiety will speak up rather than remain isolated possibly leading to problems underwater.
There was no briefing on the facilities of the boat – a different one each day.
No notification of procedures in the event of an emergency or where the first aid kit, life jackets or emergency oxygen were kept. And don’t even get me started on dark life jackets – what happened to high visibility so that you can be seen! The first day we had to go back to shore because when I asked, some 20 minutes into our journey, where the emergency oxygen was it appeared it was not even on board, no oxygen is not even remotely amusing in the event of an emergency and while things do indeed get forgotten on a boat, with three DMs, a captain, two crew and a DMT- nothing ever really should.
There was no reminder to do pre dive safety checks, without which you should never even get in to the water.
There was no roster to check in or out of dives, a well accepted safety protocol to ensure all divers are back on board or so that you have important information in the event of a later developing dive related illness.
At the end of the days diving there was no offer to do log books with our dive master.
Don’t get me wrong, the diving has been a real treat, vibrant reefs full of life and an informative and great dive master, pointing out a myriad of gorgeous sea life and those are the things that reviewers on TripAdvisor remember and mention and of course they are pretty darn important but the other stuff? It’s pretty darn important too.
Had I been a beginner I know I would have felt confused, uncertain and uncomfortable, all of the things I felt on many occasions on dive boats who had a similarly carefree attitude to procedures and not good things for anyone to feel at the start of a dive in a new and unknown location.
Perhaps most disheartening of all is that most of this is not unusual to the majority of the dive shops we’ve dived with. I have been ruined, in the best possible way, having completed my dive master with World Diving in Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia. World Diving’s whole ethos is based around safety and common sense, not that I would expect anything less from two quintessentially British, ex school teachers.
As a relative new comer to the world of diving I find it astonishing how different dive centres of a similar level can be, including those with PADI 5 star status …which means what exactly anyway? Well according to PADI it means:
PADI Five Star Dive Centers are progressive dive shops that provide a full range of PADI scuba diving education programs, equipment selection and experience opportunities, while encouraging aquatic environmental responsibility. These businesses excel in providing quality services to divers, present a professional image and actively promote the benefits of recreational scuba diving, snorkeling, dive travel, and environmental protection. PADI Five Star Dive Centers embrace the PADI System of diver education and offer regular continuing education programs to ensure divers have the opportunity to advance their skills and knowledge. These dive businesses are active in the community and are committed to providing customer satisfaction along with great dive experiences.
Which sounds lovely but also rather like the high earning shops who make a lot of money for PADI (commonly referred to as Put Another Dollar In) by offering the whole range of PADI Programs, by pushing continuing education, get 5 star status in return. As a consumer I had the idea that it meant something else, something so much more, that as a customer I would know that certain standards were upheld obviously but even more than that, that there would be continuity and similarity across the board, that they were providing the best of the best in terms of service with PADI standards at the centre of it all, foolish woman.
Maybe I am living in fantasy land but I can’t be alone in thinking it would be nice to see some standardisation of procedures across the board. Of adding our own and unique individual flavour to the basics, to boat briefings, dive site briefings and all the things inbetween that we are taught from our open water certification onwards; to not have them left by the wayside for an easy life. I want to provide the safest, most educational and enjoyable experience possible for future divers and students and I want to work with people who feel the same way, who want to continue to learn and grow, every day. I can’t be the only one living in such a beautiful fantasy land 😉 Xx